Broadcasters including the BBC, ITV and Sky News are understood to have been cleared of breaking TV censorship rules by airing graphic footage of soldier Lee Rigby's murder.
TV censor Ofcom received nearly 700 complaints about TV news coverage of the Woolwich attack in which Rigby died on 22 May, which included graphic footage filmed by a member of the public on a mobile phone of one of the assailants with blood on his
Michael Adelbolajo and Michael Adebowale were convicted of murdering Rigby thsi week at the Old Bailey.
Ofcom had been waiting on the end of the trial before announcing their decision whether to uphold complaints about the news coverage. It is now understood that Ofcom has cleared all the broadcasters on the basis that showing the footage was in the public
A spokesman for Ofcom said:
Ofcom plans to publish the full and detailed outcome of its investigations under the broadcasting code in its regular broadcast bulletin, with the next one due out early in the new year.
The two terrorists who murdered British soldier Lee Rigby on a south London street fought with guards in the dock of the court yards from the grieving family of the soldier they butchered as a judge sentenced the mastermind of the attack to die in
Michael Adebolajo who hacked at Rigby's head, was sentenced to a whole-life term for leading the first al-Qaida- inspired terrorist attack on British soil to claim a life since the 7 July bombings eight years ago. The sentence means he is unlikely to
ever be released.
His accomplice, Michael Adebowale, who stabbed at the soldier's torso, was ordered to serve a minimum of 45 years in jail. Both men had been convicted unanimously by a jury in December.
The men disrupted sentencing at the Old Bailey, with the dead soldier's family sitting nearby, as the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, branded them traitors to their religion. The judge began sentencing for the sickening and pitiless attack by saying
that Adebolajo and Adebowale were converts to Islam who became radicalised and extremists.
Adebolajo had claimed his act of butchery was a military strike commanded by God and that he was a soldier of Allah.
Ofcom have revealed their top programmes for 2013 as judged by their whingeometer.
Comic Relief: Funny for Money BBC1 487
A Comic Relief sketch in which Rowan Atkinson played a fictional archbishop of Canterbury and compared One Direction to Jesus's disciples. It featured Atkinson's archbishop saying praying doesn't work and a gag about 'loving your neighbour'
not meaning ' shagging your neighbour'
Ofcom summarily dismissed the whinges without doing its longwinded 'investigation'
The X Factor Results Show ITV 317
The offending episode featured Lady Gaga cavorting on stage in flesh-coloured underwear and a bra made out of a pair of shells. Ofcom weren't interested in the complaints though and didn't initiate a detailed response.
The X Factor scored 734 whinges for several broadcasts that offended the easily offended over the year.
Big Brother (June) Channel 5 305
This episode featured Big Brother housemate Jemima Slade's commenting that she likes dark-skinned Mediterranean men but not black men.
Big Brother totalled 965 whiinges over several broadcasts during the year.
ITV News ITV 278
The coverage of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby scored well for ITV News.
Downton Abbey ITV 246
A storyline featuring rape got plenty of press coverage, but did not cause much consternation at Ofcom
Big Brother (Aug) Channel 5 244
Complaints that Gina Rio had bullied fellow housemate Hazel O'Sullivan.
Emmerdale ITV 193
Compaints were about the murder of character Gennie Sharma. Serial killer Cameron Murray was shown smothering her with his bare hands but Ofcom ruled the coverage was not in breach.
Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2012 Channel 4 182
New year's Eve banter inspired a few complaints, but only after being heavily promoted by the Daily Mail
Big Brother (July) Channel 5 166
Complaints about boxer Daley Ojuederie fighting with O'Sullivan.
Britain's Got Talent Results ITV1 162
The was about a sexy dance performance by Jennifer Lopez. But it wasn't sexy enough to perturb Ofcom
An internet porn website operator has been barred from running any video on demand services in the latest move by
censors seeking to restrict hardcore porn on-line.
This is the first time the censorship sanction has been used against any on-demand operator, who become liables to criminal prosecution if they defy the order.
J P Media were operating the website Jessica Pressley , an internet service offering hardcore porn. A second porn supplier, S Hilder, operator of the website Pleasuring Herself has also been the subject of enforcement action.
Both services have closed following action by the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ). The video on demand censor found the services were in breach of its rules in failing to keep explicit videos or still images beyond the reach of
children. The services offered access to explicit hardcore porn videos which could be viewed on-demand. Yet the content of the videos was equivalent to that which in Britain could be sold only to adults in licensed sex shops if supplied on DVD.
The services each broke the statutory rules in two ways. Firstly, they allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic video promos/trailers or still images featuring real sex or masturbation in explicit detail. Secondly,
access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the services accepted everyday payment methods -- such as debit cards -- which occasionally can be used by under 18's, ATVOD ruled that each service had also failed to put in
place effective access controls in relation to the full videos.
The Pleasuring Herself service closed after receiving an enforcement notification from ATVOD requiring the provider of the service to either restrict access to explicit images to those who were know to be at least 18, or remove such images from
However, the Jessica Pressley service did not comply with a similar enforcement notice and was closed only after ATVOD asked Ofcom to impose a statutory penalty. Ofcom examined the service and agreed with ATVOD's findings, concluding that this was
a serious breach of statutory requirements.
Under 368K(3)(a) of the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom directed J P Media that their entitlement to provide the Jessica Pressley service or any other on-demand programme service was suspended. The suspension took immediate effect and continues
indefinitely. This is the first time such a direction has been used in regard to a video on demand service.
The end result of ATVOD's rules are that British companies aren't allowed to sell to the many people who don't happen to hold a credit card. And smaller websites find it unsurprisingly difficult to sell their product without being able to show a
sample to customers.
And as for the idea of verifying people's ages by them supplying personal identity information. This is a disgraceful charter for scammers and phishers.
The net result is that British viewers simply find their porn elsewhere. No less porn is consumed, and no less porn is seen by children. The unilateral action just means that Britain takes one more step towards bankruptcy, as business is stifled
by miserablists, moralists, PC extremists, censors, health freaks, red tape addicts, bureaucrats and politicians.
Downton Abbey was accused yesterday of using a 'sickening' rape as a 'gratuitous' plot device to liven up the ITV drama's script.
A controversial scene on Sunday night in which a housemaid was subjected to a 'brutal' assault by a valet sparked nearly 100 complaints from 'disgusted' viewers.
Katie Russell from the campaign Rape Crisis said ITV should have made it clear the episode contained sexual violence so rape victims could switch off. She said:
They had a warning about violence before the programme but it wasn't an explicit warning about sexual violence.
The scene was clearly an implied rape, and that can trigger terrible memories in rape survivors. Content like that can be very traumatic.
Author and anti-rape campaigner Bidisha ShonarKoli Mamata claimed the show's author Julian Fellowes had added the attack simply to enliven a dull storyline:
You can't just insert a scene like this into a cosy drama. You have to treat rape sensitively, rather than use it as a plot device
And of course the Daily Mail rounded up a few trivial tweets, but none are worth re-telling
Ofcom said it had received 30 complaints yesterday and was assessing whether to hold a full investigation. But of course this will be no where near breaking any rules and the investigation will soon end up as a one liner, no case to
answer, in the Ofcom complaints bulletin.
And indeed TV censor Ofcom has said that it will not formally investigate Downton Abbey' s controversial rape storyline.
ITV received 200 complaints from viewers and Ofcom a further 244.
A warning had been aired before the broadcast, which an Ofcom spokesperson confirmed had been taken into account, as had the fact that the attack took place off screen. The scene was also broadcast after the 9pm watershed.
It was not investigated as together with other complaints after careful assessment, Ofcom has decided not to pursue because they did not raise issues warranting investigation .
Movie Mix is a general entertainment service and is owned and operated by Square 1 Management Ltd. Cops is a documentary series that follows law enforcement officers in America.
This episode featured officers policing the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans. A complainant alerted Ofcom to graphic scenes in this broadcast.
Ofcom noted the following content: [eg]
The episode, which aired at 09:00, was preceded by the verbal and visual warning, "due to the graphic nature of this programme, viewer discretion is advised"
In the opening title sequence, there was a montage of clips of the Mardi Gras festival, including three women on a balcony pulling up their tops to reveal their breasts (which had been blurred) to onlookers
A woman gave her account to police in the aftermath of a fight with another woman. While language was audibly bleeped there was no blurring of the subject's mouth: she [bleep] started hitting me for no reason..
Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 which states:
Children must...be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
Square 1 said that because all shots of nudity and swearing had been blurred and bleeped in this particular episode, it was considered suitable for daytime broadcast, but not in daytime schedules at the weekend or during school holidays. Due to a
mistake, this restriction was not marked on this episode and the programme was broadcast at 09:00 on a Saturday. The Licensee apologised for the error and said that as a result of this incident all daytime episodes of this series were being reviewed and
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3
Ofcom first assessed whether this episode contained material unsuitable for children. We considered that the images and implied language (as set out in the Introduction), when assessed individually, were not necessarily unsuitable. In Ofcom's view,
however, the cumulative effect of this material conveyed an adult tone unsuitable for child viewers.
Ofcom concluded that the material was in breach of Rule 1.3.
Ofcom considered the broadcast of this material was a significant failure in compliance by Square 1. We noted a recent case1 involving the broadcast of content on Movie Mix that was unsuitable for children in the early evening on a week day. We were
therefore concerned that a similar issue of inappropriate daytime scheduling should arise so soon after the previous compliance failure. We are putting Square 1 on notice that should similar compliance issues arise Ofcom may take further regulatory
The TV censor Ofcom has upheld complaints against episodes of Newsnight and This Morning which led to Robert McAlpine being wrongly implicated in child sex abuse allegations.
Newsnight broadcast allegations against an unnamed leading Conservative politician from the Thatcher years . McAlpine was not named, but was the subject of internet speculation. Days later the prime minister was handed a list of alleged abusers,
which named the peer, on ITV's This Morning.
On the day of the broadcast it had been widely discussed on the internet, with McAlpine's name linked to it. It later became widespread speculation he was the subject of the allegations.
Ofcom ruled broadcasting the allegations in this context had led to McAlpine being incorrectly identified. ITV accepted this was an uncharacteristic lapse in editorial judgement on the part of the programme's editorial team .
Ofcom ruled both programmes had breached the broadcasting code and had treated Lord McAlpine unfairly, causing him distress and embarrassment.
Both the BBC and ITV subsequently apologised to Lord McAlpine and paid substantial libel damages.
ExGirlfriends is a channel broadcasting on the digital satellite platform which transmits softcore adult sex material content from 22:00 until 05:30 with mandatory restricted access. For the remainder of the time pre-recorded advertising content is shown
without mandatory restricted access. The licence for this channel is owned by Playboy TV UK/Benelux Limited.
Ofcom received a complaint that softcore adult sex material was broadcast without the required mandatory restricted access on the channel from 22:00 on 4 June 2013.
The service then played a clip without mandatory restricted access which lasted around five minutes. This featured a woman on a bed. At the beginning of the clip, she was wearing a skirt and a top. During the sequence, she:
pulled up her skirt, presenting her buttocks towards the camera and also showed her genitals. She then moved her body as though to mime she was having sex;
rubbed her genital area through her knickers;
pulled up her top to reveal her breasts and stroked her nipples while looking towards the camera;
removed her skirt, again positioning her buttocks towards the camera, and pulled aside her knickers to show her genitals and anus;
removed her underwear, with the camera zooming in on her genitals and anus; and
removed her top, fully exposing her breasts, as she lay on her back, spread her legs, and rubbed her genital area.
Ofcom considered that the programme raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 1.18 of the Code, which states:
Adult sex material that contains images and/or language of a strong sexual nature which is broadcast for the primary purpose of sexual arousal or stimulation must not be broadcast at any time other than between 2200 and 0530 on premium subscription
services and pay per view/night services with mandatory restricted access...
Playboy TV said that this was an unfortunate and rare incident, resulting from a number of unprecedented changes at the company, such as a reduction in the number of its channels, restructuring, the relocation of staff overseas, and the outsourcing of
technical departments. The Licensee explained that new checks have been introduced to ensure listings are now correctly married to schedules prior to broadcast.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.18
Graphic images of a woman taking off her clothes and masturbating, and close-up shots of her genital and anal areas were broadcast at 22:00. Ofcom considered this was clearly adult sex material , i.e. it contained images of a strong sexual nature
which were broadcast for the primary purpose of sexual arousal or stimulation. We noted the representations of the Licensee that this material was broadcast unencrypted as a result of human error, and that it has taken action to prevent such errors from
happening again. The content was however in breach of Rule 1.18.
Ofcom has completed its investigation into the broadcast coverage of the killing of Fusilier Rigby on 22 May 2013. However, due to ongoing criminal proceedings, Ofcom is delaying the publication of its decisions.
Ofcom will publish its decisions on completion of the criminal proceedings.
Official figures indicate that over the course of three months, there have been just 4,000 attempts made to access online porn by employees working at UK TV and internet censor Ofcom. So who the bloody hell is going to regulate the regulators?, argues
the conservative think tank Parliament Street.
But as Ofcom has about 750 staff then the average accesses per employee per month is 2. And hopefully both of those are to read MelonFarmers.co.uk, which is classified as porn by negligently bad blocking algorithms.
And then there is the small matter that it is Ofcom's job to access porn websites to keep tab on ATVOD's overzealous censorship and also to follow up complaints about websites associated with UK adult broadcasters.
I think the think tank should think about learning some basic arithmetic.